With its engaging (but confusing – in a good way) story lines, awesome hacking scenes and references, and generally bleak tone and humor – it’s easy to get lost in the “techno-thriller” tag and forget that Mr. Robot, in its core, is still a drama series.
The awards people are sure to remember it, though. With the exception of Rami Malek besting several of the top dramatic actors in his field to net the Emmy’s “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series” (a win that has been well-documented including on our site), his co-star Christian Slater and the show itself also brought home their own accolades on the recent Golden Globes.
But in our humble opinion, the citation that holds the most weight (while lacking in clout) has to be the Peabody Award. For the uninitiated, it’s an award given to anything that is known for its quality regardless of its commercial or mainstream appeal. So, think “Mad Max: Fury Road” rather than “The Hunger Games”. Mr. Robot is one of the few shows to merit such award, and is truly quite a feat.
That being said, we’ve covered Rami Malek’s best acting scenes in a past article, but this time, we’d like to acknowledge some of the best touching scenes just to show that it isn’t always doom and gloom. And since it’s difficult to rank these scenes, this will be in no particular order.
The Origin of the Store Name
The reputation of “eps2.4_m4ster-s1ave.aes” as that surreal 80s/90s throwback is inescapable – but take that away and it would probably be remembered for the Fsociety-assisted intrusion scene with Angela. It’s also the episode where Elliot reconciled the importance of Mr. Robot in his life, and it closes with one of the most heartwarming scenes on the show. We are treated to a flashback to young Elliot being picked up by his father at the principal’s office in what’s strongly inferred to as a schoolyard fight (in an ingenious piece of editing, this comes right after Elliot was getting the shit kicked out of him). Mr. Robot/Edward Alderson tries to put his son at ease in opening up by sharing a secret of his own – that he’s starting a computer shop and wants his son to name it after the first thing that pops in his mind. It’s one of the rare humanizing scenes for the typically wise-ass antics of Christian Slater and the way it smash cuts into the credits just adds to its underrated appeal.
Shayla’s Offline Life
Up to this point, it’s been established that Elliot typically extracts information from individuals by hacking them. Unfortunately for him, his love interest, Shayla, is the antithesis of the average online junkie (if she even qualifies as such). She doesn’t reveal her entire activities or interests online, instead, keeping her true passions to herself (and possibly to those close to her only) – particularly her artwork. Upon revealing this “secret”, it serves as a bridge between her and Elliot, and completing the ship tease just in time for Gideon’s get-together dinner.
Pops Sticks up for Elliot
Oh look, it’s another flashback scene featuring Mr. Robot and Elliot! And it involves the store again! On the cold open of “eps1.8_m1rror1ng.qt”, we are shown an extremely agitated customer hurling profanities at Mr. Robot, accusing his son of stealing money. Despite being well aware of his son’s guilt, Mr. Robot blew off the guy and used the cash to watch “Pulp Fiction” (as suggested by Elliot, ever the non-conformist) citing that in the end, the guy acting like a “prick” about the whole thing (as opposed to a kid being mischievous) is much more bothersome in his book.
Sure it’s just one of Elliot’s hallucinations again, but we’re glad to see that the writers were considerate enough of their audience’s feelings about a bit character that had an underserved soul-crushing dress-down from Elliot as part of his social engineering charade in Blue Mountain. In it, we see Bill get an unexpected visit from Elliot inviting him to a party of sorts (to which he collapses in his arms in relief). Hey, we’ll take any great thing we can salvage from this man’s terrible suffering!